What problem does this solve?
Often, in person and online, it can be easy to talk over each other without really realizing that neither person is truly listening to the other person. This results in arguments, misunderstandings, miscommunications and can lead to mistrust.
What is the solution?
Active listening is a process to listening better to colleagues. It includes various techniques and strategies that can be used to make sure that you are truly paying attention and that you are really listening to each other rather than talking over each other (or typing over each other)
Strategies for active listening
- Mirroring: repeat (or read outloud) what someone just wrote or said. It will help you make sure you are reading or listening accurately
- Paraphrase: try rephrasing what someone just told you to make sure you understand what they said.
- Summarize: summarize what they say in fewer words to see if you understand
- Probe for understanding: Use phrases like "Please say more" or "can you give me an example"
- Ask others about their experience: "Has everyone experienced the same thing?"
Things to consider
What to do with Feedback: 5 types
Broadly, there are five types of feedback or criticism you might receive from someone else:
- I can do something now
- The feedback will be helpful next time, but not right now.
- I don’t know how to respond to the question or feedback, but someone else might - ask!
- The feedback or question is outside of my control
- The feedback or question clashes with my values. I cannot do anything about the feedback except communicate that it falls outside of my values.
Responding to feedback
- It is always important to make sure to clarify the feedback. Repeat what they said or rephrase to make sure you understand
- Probe: ask: can you give me an example? how does this make you feel? how does this affect you? (This last one is super valuable & helpful!)
- Finally, make sure to respond to the feedback. If you can do something about it now - GREAT! If you cannot, communicate that as well - don't just ignore it
- If you commit to something - make sure to follow through.